Isabelle is left stranded at the airport, and her only chance of getting home is with her boyfriend’s older brother, Harper. When this good girl and bad boy set off towards home, it turns out that maybe she’s not such a good girl after all. And even bad boys have reasons for their bad behavior.
The road trip is full of shocking revelations and unexpected emotions, bringing the two of them closer than Isabelle ever thought possible. Maybe too close.
Bridie Hall sold her first story at fourteen. Since then, she has written dozens more, translated books, studied writing, and started writing novels. Her days revolve around stories and words, her sleepless nights involve plotting and inventing fascinating new characters. The only activity that takes up more of her time than writing, is reading.
“I just want to get it over with. One hour, you said?” she asked breathlessly, trying to hide her nervousness.
He grinned. “You’ll ask for more, trust me.” He took off his jacket, so he was now in his short-sleeved t-shirt.
From a drawer in the cupboard to the left, he took out two black aprons with thin white stripes, handing one to her. She watched him put on his, admiring how good he looked in it. The apron suited him. She hadn’t expected that. He had boasted about being a good cook, but she didn’t take him seriously, not really, and she didn’t expect him to look so at home in a kitchen. Especially not a kitchen like this.
“What?” he asked when he noticed her stare.
“Are you and Missy …?”
“Huh? No. We’re friends, that’s all.”
“That’s a relief,” she blurted. When he raised his eyebrows, she blushed. “I mean, you two earlier …” She pointed towards the entrance and made a gagging gesture. When his astonished eyes refused to leave her face, she busied herself with her apron.
“Are you sure you’re not jealous?” he called after her. She marched into the kitchen as if she knew what she was doing there.
“Not even a bit?”
“I have a boyfriend, remember? You might know him? His name’s Jamie?”
“A tiny tiny tiny bit?” He followed her.
She turned to him. She couldn’t help but grin at his pleading expression. She liked how he was seeking her attention. It felt good. In a bad sort of way.
“I knew it,” he said, but she ignored him.
“Now what?” She looked around at the vastness of the place. “This looks scary.”
“I’ll tell you what this looks like—it looks sexy.” When she raised her eyebrows at him, he said, “I meant you in an apron.”
“Stop it, Harper.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I thought we would cook,” she said, confused, and jumped up to sit on one of the stainless steel counters.
“Get off,” he said.
“Wha—” She didn’t manage to finish as he grabbed her hand and pulled her off. “What was that about?”
“Never sit on the counters. This is a kitchen, not your bedroom.”
His statement struck her as hilarious. For a second, she couldn’t believe she’d heard right. He brought her here to teach her how to not worry about being proper and all.
She could see his shock when she suddenly laughed. She couldn’t stop. It was too funny, but she managed to mumble in between fits of laughter, “Prude.”
She stumbled back into a cupboard, leaning on it for support, still laughing.
“Cut it out,” Harper said next to her, but she could hear he was on the brink of laughing too.
“You gotta … admit … it’s hilarious,” she squealed, trying hopelessly to get some air.
“It’s not,” he said. When she stumbled again, he caught her. He was now laughing too, and they supported each other like two drunks. They were a heap of laughter. Isabelle had tears streaming down her cheeks and even when she managed to control the laugh, she still hiccupped with mirth every now and then.
“I thought I told you to stop,” Harper said, wiping her cheeks and clearing his throat.
When his warm fingers touched her red cheeks, Isabelle sobered. “I think your purpose here was achieved. I hadn’t laughed like that in ages,” she said and stepped away.
He let his hands that held her seconds ago fall to his sides.
“It felt good,” he said, subdued. “But we’re nowhere near done. Get a bowl and search for vanilla beans; we’ll be making panna cotta.”
“What’s that?” Her ignorant question stopped him dead in his tracks.
“You don’t … Never mind. You’ll see.”
“Why aren’t we making peas and cheese tart since you already offered to make it?”
He turned and walked back to her. “That’s for another time. We don’t want to get nostalgic and sad now.”
“I wouldn’t …”
“You’re underestimating the power of food,” he said, cutting her off, and then added, “We’ll make something sexy, instead.”
“Food isn’t sexy, no matter what this panotta is,” she countered.
“Panna cotta, Isabelle. Panna cotta.” He rolled his eyes at her, and she wasn’t sure whether it was because she didn’t know what panna cotta was, or because she thought food couldn’t be sexy.
Halfway towards the door with a ‘Storeroom’ sign on it, he turned, grinned, and said, “I never thought prudes could be sexy.” His dreamy eyes travelled the length of her body and stopped on her face. “But look at you …”
When he returned with two articles in his hands, she was still standing in the same spot. She hadn’t yet recovered.
“We’re strapped for time, so we’ll improvise,” he said.
Improvisation sounded bad, was Isabelle’s first coherent thought in the last five minutes. Really bad.
“Put two teaspoons of this—it’s gelatin—” he handed her the larger container “—into a small bowl and add four spoons of cold water.”
She held the container gingerly, following Harper’s moves around the kitchen with her eyes instead of doing what he’d asked. She had no idea what gelatin was.
“What?” He stopped in his tracks when he noticed she didn’t budge from her spot.
“Bowl?” she peeped.
“In that cupboard.” He pointed. He looked all business now. Relaxed, but focused. Isabelle couldn’t help but admire him. It was as if he had washed his sarcasm off of him as he washed his hands in the sink before he went to work. He seemed like he was enjoying this, like he felt at home in the kitchen. He looked sexy in his jeans, the black apron, his hair mussed and his defined biceps showing under his short sleeves.
She shivered, placing the container on the countertop. “I need to make a phone call,” she muttered.
What is it with me an Evernight Teen books? I normally give those to Pink to read but lately, I’ve been gobbling them up like an addict. This is another one that hits it out the park. But I first might warn you that when you read the book, don’t expect “chapters”. Its written like a road movie and the flow and pacing do not stop. Once you start reading, you will not stop. Yes, it’s that good. 😉
Harlie doesn’t like to read YA books that are full of angst and why is world against me themes. Letting Go has none of that but it touches on some issues that young and old face all the time. What’s wrong with letting go every once in a while? I mean we are such an on the go society today. Kids today are so dependent on anything electronic that if they are not plugged in or over scheduled, they literally don’t know what to do with themselves.
Isabelle is one of those young adults. Senior in high school, steady boyfriend (Jamie) and is being raised by her father. Without her best friend (Chloe), she would be lost. I could identify with Isabelle and her boyfriend issue. Jamie is steady and there. Unfortunately, when she meets his older brother Harper, there is a spark there. A bit of a connection that she tries to deny not only from herself but from Harper.
What I really enjoyed about Harper and Isabelle is the give and tack on the trip back from the airport. Isabelle learned how to stand up for herself and Harper helped her experience new things that she would have never though of try. Harper was, I emphasize was a bad boy growing up but he wasn’t given a fair shake either from his and Jamie’s father. Jamie never knew the true story about Harper and when the truth finally came it out…I was stunned. I never expected that and I don’t think Isabelle did either. Harper had to do a lot of growing up and it showed in his wooing (I can’t believe I wrote that word) of Isabelle on the trip home.
That leads me to another point about Isabelle and Harper. Their story was never about sex, undoing a wrong or even Jamie. It was about them and what led them to the point in the book…Oops, almost a spoiler and the fallout. He He! Yes, is there a HEA, I would probably say more of a HFN but Ms. Hall left the door wide open for a sequel. I would love to see how they are making it without the guilty (Isabelle) and Harper finally figuring out what he truly wants out of life.
Letting Go is a great story about letting go your preconceived notions about someone and learning to live for once. Without all the gadgets, best friends getting in the way and learning to really listen to a person and understanding them in a way that you never thought possible.
*side note* Mothers, aunts, grandmothers…Evernight Teen authors are some of the best in the business. I’ve read a lot of their books and they have never ever disappointed. This book is one of those books that I would recommend that every girl should read. Its funny, somewhat heartbreaking but in the end, it will make them think. Oh and get them to watch the movie The Breakfast Club. Yes, it’s from my generation but its a movie that has stood the test of time and is still topically today. *end note*